Sunday, September 18, 2011

Collard and Sausage Skillet (and what to do with the leftovers)

On a recent CSA trip we got two bunches of collard greens.  I have taken them a few times from the farm, but I have never gotten around to actually using them.  It turns out they are enough like kale that they can be used in a similar manner.  Collards are notorious for their ability to stand up to strong flavors such as bacon, so I decided to make a dish with collards and sausage.

I made up this dish entirely on my own, though I used a somewhat similar technique to Heidi's White Beans and Cabbage, which inspired this dish by being a one-skillet meal that uses a cruciferous vegetable.  This is one of the times that I was able to make up a dish on the fly and it came out pretty good.  It's been happening more and more lately.

The real purpose for me to share this recipe with you is to share what I did with the leftovers.  Who likes eating the same thing over and over?  I cook for two, so much of my leftovers go in the freezer whenever possible.  Otherwise, we are stuck eating the same thing multiple times until it's all gone.

I made this skillet dish with collard greens and crumbled sausage, but I wasn't totally crazy about it.  When I was eating it, I kept thinking how great it would be as the contents of a soup.  So I decided to use the leftovers to make a soup, and it was good, which is why I am posting about it.  It was really nice to be able to use up the leftovers in a totally new dish, especially since I liked it better than the original.

Collard and Sausage Skillet

2 sweet Italian pork sausages (I got my local organic ones from Cherry Grove Farm)
3/4 cup thinly sliced shallots
1 cup navy beans (canned are fine)
2 bunches collard greens, de-stemmed and sliced into pencil-thin ribbons
Salt and pepper

1. Take the sausage out of the casing and crumble it up.  Heat a skillet over medium heat, add the sausage and break it apart as much as possible.  After a minute or two, toss in the shallots and cook for a few minutes.
2. Rinse and drain your navy beans.  Toss those into the pan too.  Put the lid on for a few minutes if your shallots aren't translucent.
3. Add the collard ribbons, stir it up, and put the lid back on for a few minutes, removing it occasionally to stir.  Try to get the sausage mixture on top of the collard greens so that they come into closer contact with the heat.
4. When the collard ribbons are bright green and slightly wilted, turn off the heat.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Collard and Sausage Soup

2 big cloves of garlic, sliced
Approximately 3 cups of leftover Collard and Sausage Skillet
1 (28-oz) can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
28 oz water (just fill up the can)
Small pasta shapes (I used half a box or 180g, which was too much)
1 cup water or as much/as little as you desire
Salt and pepper

1. Saute the garlic in a bit of olive oil and let it soften up.  Add the skillet leftovers and stir.
2. Add the crushed tomatoes and water and bring to a boil.
3. When the soup starts to boil, add the small pasta shapes and cook however long the package says.
4. When the pasta is cooked, turn the heat to super low or off.  Add more water to thin the soup to your desired consistency.  If you use a reasonable amount of pasta, you may not even need any water.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

You can make this soup without making the skillet dish first.  Just make the skillet dish as directed, adding the garlic in with the shallots (this would be good to do, I think, even if you're not making the soup) and then continue on as if you had just added the leftovers to the pot.  You may need to add more water to account for the slightly bigger amount of collards (mine were leftovers, remember?)

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